Frequently Asked Questions about Serenity Villa
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In May 1961, Fairview Haven became an official corporation and, soon after, began the building of Fairview Haven. The mission of the organization at the time read: “…’Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’…Fairview Haven strives to put the Word of God into action by caring for those who can no longer care for themselves, and continuing to nurture each in the warmth of God’s Word through prayer and deed.” Through the years, Fairview Haven has changed as the needs of those we care for has changed. Through these changes, our mission and ministry has NOT been altered. Today, we are seeing people with dementia who have greater needs than we can accommodate. The current building of Fairview Haven does not provide an adequate living environment for our loved ones diagnosed with Dementia, and therefore after much research and prayer, the administration team, with support of the Board of Directors, feels it is time to move forward with this building project.
Contrary to what some people believe, loss of short term memory is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Physical changes occur in the brain, and when these changes occur, life becomes very confusing and scary for the person who is experiencing them. They no longer perceive their world the same way they always have; therefore, our main objective when caring for them is to try to understand how they are perceiving their world and “meet them there.” Many times, they become unable to successfully express their needs, so we need to anticipate them to reduce the stress that occurs when this happens. Every person experiences dementia in a different way, but there are some similarities that many share. Some commonalities are: hyper-sensitivity to non-verbal cues, sensitivity to over-stimulation (especially light and noise), vision loss, the preference for consistency and routine, and the need to be understood. Because each person experiences dementia differently and progresses through the disease differently, anticipating their needs can be a challenge. Key components to successfully caring for them are: family involvement, consistent caregivers, comforting environment, and continuing education for family and caregivers.
As stated in the answer above, one of the key components to successfully caring for people with dementia is the environment. Over the past twelve years, the Fairview Haven team has been researching and growing in understanding of what the best environment for our loved ones is. Within the past several years, we have worked on improving our team’s education about dementia, getting families more involved with the care of loved ones, and providing consistent caregivers. We have looked at our environment and tried to create “spaces” which would be helpful for people living with dementia. During our Integrated Prefeasibility Analysis sessions with Action Pact Development, we looked at different options for adequately providing a “memory support unit.” In the end, it was determined that to “do it right” the only solution was to build a new building.
Fear not - Fairview Haven will still be committed to fulfilling our mission of valuing choice, encouraging growth and making life abound for seniors. We will continue to endeavor to preserve the culture of creating home that has been so integral to Fairview Haven over the last decade. As excited as we are about Serenity Villa, we understand that it is simply an enhancement of our mission for all the seniors we serve at Fairview Haven. Our future fund-raising goals will continue to solicit assistance in providing the extras that make Fairview Haven the Home of choice and enhance the lives of ALL we serve.
The Board of Directors has contracted with Action Pact Design to walk us through the predevelopment or design phase of this project. According to the timeline given us from Action Pact, construction could start as early as June 2017. It is estimated that construction could take a full year, so the earliest estimate for the first resident occupying Serenity Villa is June 2018. Of course, as with any building project, these estimated times are best case scenario and, well, there is always a potential for a hiccup or two.
Serenity Villa will likely consist of 20 apartments, two of which could be shared. Early on in our efforts to improve memory support at Fairview Haven, a team of administrative staff and Board members visited several homes who have memory support units. Though the number of residents varied at each of these facilities, commonly they stated to us that a good number would be around 20. In researching, it is commonly reported that the most efficient household operates with around 20 residents. This provides a “family” feel for the residents, yet provides for efficiency of staffing. As part of our prefeasibility efforts, we conducted a market study of our area. This market study showed us that there is an increasing demand for memory support assisted living units in our county. At the same time, we studied our own occupancy at Fairview Haven and found that a good 1/3 of our residents would be better served by a memory support assisted living, which results in approximately 20 units.
Again, as shared in the answer above, we believe that several of our current occupants at Fairview Haven will benefit from the environment of Serenity Villa. Our goal with this building project is to reduce the number of shared rooms that we currently have in the Fairview Haven care center. It is our plan to reduce the number of beds from 63 to 51. The market study that was conducted supports that there will be an increasing need for memory support assisted living and a decreasing need for nursing beds.
In order to answer this question, you need to first understand what an Assisted Living Unit is. Assisted living is relatively new to the state of Illinois. Though we don’t really know how the minds of our legislators work, this is one case where they may have been thinking well! Assisted living is designed to be a “home” model rather than a “hospital” model. The Skilled Nursing Facility was designed years ago to provide a step down between hospital care and home. It is regulated heavily and most skilled nursing homes are designed more like a hospital. Assisted living came along to provide yet another step down. Now you have an option that feels like home but gives you opportunity to receive medical services. Assisted living is much less regulated today than skilled nursing; however, we are able to provide similar care. There are restrictions we must abide by (such as a resident can only “need” assistance from two paid caregivers). Under the restrictions of assisted living, still many people living with dementia would qualify to live there.
The official room charge cannot be determined for Serenity Villa until we are ready to occupy. However, as we did the feasibility study, we determined that a fair rate for memory support assisted living would fall somewhere in the $6,500 per month range. This would be a savings of over $1,000 per month for those residing in a skilled nursing facility. Based upon our research and understanding of our market study, a fair amount of seniors in our county can afford this fee. In addition, many seniors carry a long term care insurance policy (which we strongly encourage) that could cover these expenses. Under the assisted living license, we will not be able to utilize state funding (Medicaid) for residents and therefore, we will likely have a small amount of charity care.
Obtaining and maintaining quality staffing is always a concern for us. Our remote location makes it especially difficult because the staffing pool gets shallow (and seems to dry up) at times. Our belief is that employees will treat the residents in the same manner we, as an employer, treat the employees. Therefore, we attempt to set the same rules and boundaries in the Fairview Haven “home” that we set in our own homes. We expect everyone to treat one another with respect and to value one another’s unique gifts and talents – and in doing so, we can retain our employees long-term. Even so, turnover happens and we do seem to struggle to maintain adequate staffing. We have implemented a few strategies that seem to be helpful: we are now offering CNA classes right at Fairview Haven – once they get familiar with us, they tend to want to stay! Last year, we changed our pay structure to compensate for past years of service upon hire, which attracts CNAs that have more experience. We have an RN on staff that is teaching CNA classes for Heartland Community College (HCC) and hopes to “recruit” from there when she feels there would be a good match. We have also been in contact with the nurse educators at HCC and are hoping to host LPN/RN clinicals at FVH. Since the net capacity will only be increased by 8 residents, we don’t really anticipate the need for that many more additional employees – we will transition current staff to Serenity Villa and reduce staffing in the current care center.
Our hands will continue to be out; as we lift them up in prayer, extend them in love and fellowship, and grasp the hand of our Great God as we trust in His guidance on this journey. Understanding that the deficit of Fairview Haven continues to grow, it is necessary for us to continually look for ways to reposition ourselves to remain an effective ministry. In keeping with the original mission of Fairview Haven, we will continue to operate as a ministry and outreach of our church. This provides our supporters with the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving His brethren. “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 According to the feasibility study we conducted, it is projected that Serenity Villa’s operations will generate positive cash flow and reduce the overall deficit of Fairview Haven.
Yep, you heard that right. Originally, as we started talking about building a new building, that number in our minds was a lot lower as well. Please understand that the 5.4 million dollars is a very rough estimate. During the feasibility study, we had to create a construction estimate in order to determine if the project was feasible. We believe the numbers that we came up with are very conservative numbers and it is highly likely that the project will come in less than the estimate. That being said, please understand that a facility of this nature will require technology that many of us don’t have in our own homes. We will need a good security system to keep residents safe, we will need furniture and equipment that will maintain a homey environment while keeping a safe and comfortable environment for the residents and staff of Serenity Villa. It has never been the intention of administration or the Board of Directors to build an elaborate home. We want to build a secure comfortable home just like most of us live in. In order to reduce that number, we ask for your help. The general contractors being considered to build Serenity Villa have expressed interest in using volunteer help. If you are interested, please let us know!
Please feel free to contact any of the members of our Board of Directors or administrative team: Administration – Dave Blunier, Rick Plattner Fairbury – Neil Bahler, Ben Kafer, Nelson Zehr Forrest – Dan Banwart, Kevin Schaffer, Duane Walter Cissna Park – Eric Kaeb, Rod Steffen, Mark Waldbeser Because Serenity Villa is such a large project for Fairview Haven, the person you contact above may not be able to answer your question alone. All of us agree that if we don’t know, we will find out for you or direct you to the person that does.
Great, we are so thankful to have you along for the journey. More than anything, we need you to pray for our administrative staff and Board of Directors as we walk this journey one step at a time. There are many decisions and we want all that we do to be to the glory and honor of our great God! “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Secondly, we will need your financial support. Could you please pray about how God would like you to be involved financially? We understand that not everyone is able to give large sums of money. Please know that we value any sum you feel able to donate. We have created an “Intent to Give” form that can help you decide the best way for you to give. Perhaps you have a God given talent that you feel could be helpful to this building project. We would like to hear about it. Don’t be afraid to step up and tell us if you have a talent you feel would be useful. We won’t consider you to be proud, but rather willing and eager to build a better future for people with Dementia! And lastly, we need you to talk! Get out and share our vision and mission at Fairview Haven for Serenity Villa. The more people we have in our churches and communities that know and understand our vision, the larger our team will be. If you don’t feel like you understand something, come talk to us, we’ll help you understand. Thank you for your support!!
It is the policy of Fairview Haven to give equal opportunity to all qualified persons
without regard to race, color, religion, sex, marital status, disability, national origin or age.